Last year I wrote a post where I made some claims that have subsequently proven false.
In Bikinis, body image and me I made brave comments about finally having learned to accept my body as it is.
Ok yes, I did as foretold in said post, buy a bikini. And what’s more, I did wear said bikini.
I even survived the humiliation of realising my daughter’s 13-year-old friend was wearing an identical bikini at the beach, on the day I first revealed my 2 piece to the world.
But in recent weeks it has dawned on me that as my 45th birthday rapidly approaches, it really is about time I started to truly accept my body rather than just pretending I do.
I know I am no lone crusader on this one. There are whole organisations, such as The Butterfly Foundation, who are dedicated to helping women/girls work on their negative self-image.
But I cannot help but wonder if it really is possible for someone like me to change habits accrued over a lifetime.
If I am brave enough to delve into my psyche, I can point to any number of reasons for my poor body image.
Perhaps it all stems back to being called ‘the Michelin tyre man’ as a toddler by my family.
Then there was my ‘best friend’ in primary school who called me “fat ape” unless she suddenly needed me to help her with her maths.
Or my first real boyfriend who delighted in reminding me not to finish meals when dining out, as it would “make you fatter”.
And told me to be careful when lying on the beach near my parents house, in case Greenpeace mistook me for a whale and threw me back into the water.
For as long as I can remember, I have sorted eating into either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ food options.
I feel guilty whenever I eat a ‘bad’ food. Sometimes the knowledge I will feel guilty if I eat something stops me from actually eating it.
Other times I push on regardless, consume the item (usually very quickly, probably in some weird attempt to pretend I am not actually eating it) and then feel sick with remorse for ages after.
I have of course dieted many times over the years, and I still employ tactics such as trying not to eat carbs after 6pm or eat more than 1200 calories a day.
I do worry about the message I am giving my children.
My son is so skinny his ribs stick out whenever he raises his arms, and yet he talks about needing to go on a diet as he claims he is fat.
My daughter was devastated when she was weighed at the pediatrician yesterday and discovered she had put on a kilo over the intervening month since her first visit. Mind you, she was wearing more and heavier clothes than the last time.
I estimate I would use the expressions “I’ve put on weight” or “Does this make me look fat?” at least once a week.
I tell myself and others that I am finally realising it is more important to be healthy than to be skinny. For brief moments in time, I almost believe it too.
Sometimes I feel like I hate my body. My arthritic, prone to suffer repeated and lengthy viruses, body.
For that matter, what does the fact I think of ‘my body’ almost as a separate and alien being say about me?
Enough of the whingeing already.
But if you have any suggestions for me on how to combat my body image issues, I would love to hear them. Or if you like, why not add your own whine in the comments section below.
Cheers till next time (which hopefully won’t be too far in the future,and on a happier topic),